A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Mar del Plata vs. Cartagena for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Mar del Plata or Cartagena?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Mar del Plata and Cartagena can help you decide which place is right for you.

Where Should I go: Mar del Plata or Cartagena?

Mar del Plata

Mar del Plata is found only 404 km southeast of the city of Buenos Aires, on the Atlantic coast. Today Mar Del Plata is Argentina‘s most well known beach resort. It has successfully married the two worlds of beach and city into a fun, cosmopolitan urban center with the presence of highly developed tourist infrastructure. Founded in 1874, Mar del Plata was at first mainly an industrial and commercial center before becoming a vacation destination for Argentinians. For a peaceful trip and intimate oceanfront promenades, avoid visiting Mar del Plata during summer time, as the gorgeous arced coastline will be crawling with visitors. But the city is more than just beaches. It also offers some culture, lively nightlife, and great food.

Cartagena

The capital of the Bolivar Department of Colombia, Cartagena is one of the most visited cities in the country. It sits on Colombia's northern coast by the Caribbean Sea. It's a port city with a population of almost 900,000, making it the fifth largest city in Colombia. The city has a rich history and was the first Spanish colony on the American continent. It was also one of the first sanctuaries for freed African slaves in the Americas.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Luxury Tours to Argentina, The Best Budget Tours to Argentina, The Best Adventure Tours to Colombia, and The Best Eco Tours in Colombia.


Which place is cheaper, Cartagena or Mar del Plata?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Mar del Plata is $8.42, while the average daily cost in Cartagena is $45. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Mar del Plata and Cartagena in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Mar del Plata $3.02
    Cartagena $25
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Mar del Plata $6.04
    Cartagena $50
Compare Hotels in Mar del Plata and Cartagena

Looking for a hotel in Mar del Plata or Cartagena? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Mar del Plata


Hotels in Cartagena


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Mar del Plata Hotel Prices and Cartagena Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Mar del Plata $2.40
    Cartagena $7.06

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cartagena

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cartagena:

  • Cartagena Tour Privado x8 horas con Transfers: $390
  • Cartagena to Tayrona Park (or vice versa) Private Transfer: $296
  • 15. Transfer to SANTA MARTA from Cartagena Private or vice versa.: $290
  • Cartagena to Santa Marta Private Transfer Service: $268
  • Cartagena Tour Privado x5 horas con Transfers: $259
  • Cartagena Tour Privado x3 horas con Transfers: $185
  • 8. Transfer to BARRANQUILLA from Cartagena Private or vice versa: $160
  • San Diego to Long Beach Airport (LGB) - Departure Private Transfer: $156
  • Cartagena to or from Tayrona Park Private Transfer: $147
  • 20. Transfer Rafael N. Airport-HOTEL LAS ISLAS-CALABLANCA: $142
  • Cartagena to Barranquilla Transfer Service: $136
  • Cartagena to or from Tayrona Park Private Transfer: $136

Is it cheaper to fly into Mar del Plata or Cartagena?

Prices for flights to both Cartagena and Mar del Plata change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Mar del Plata $3.65
    Cartagena $9.25

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cartagena

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Cartagena.

  • Featured in NYTimes > Arepas and Dancing: Danceable Cooking Class in Cartagena: $32
  • Cooking class of typical food at the beach and sunset view: $39
  • Taste Cartagena Food tour: $40
  • Guided Street Food Tour with Tastings: $42
  • Street Food Tour in Cartagena: $42
  • Street Food Cooking Class, Mojito making & Fruit tasting: $50
  • Cooking class, Caribbean lunch at our place: $50
  • Cruise by the Bay with Dinner and Wine: $55
  • Private Dinner at a Local Chef's House in Cartagena: $58
  • Dinner Cruise Along Cartagena's Bay: $60
  • Cooking class: Street Food & Mojito making: $60
  • Cartagena Island Dinner (Island of Tierra Bomba): $60

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Mar del Plata $2.18
    Cartagena $20

Tours and Activities in Cartagena

Here are a few actual costs in Cartagena for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Beach Buggy ATV Adventure Tour CARTAGENA: $135
  • Cartagena City Tour & Convento de la Popa : $32
  • Cartagena Efoil FliteBoard Experience in Fenix Beach 1H: $150
  • Palenque Native Guide, free entrance tickets, dance show & lunch: $110
  • Playa Blanca Private tour : $148
  • Playa Morena Beach Club Whith Lunch And Walking tour of fort San Fernando: $39
  • Private Beach Tour in Barú and Optional Bird Aviary: $120
  • Private Tour & the best coffee of the world in Cartagena (Also for cruisers): $250
  • Private city tour: $197
  • Rosario Islands Full Day Tour: $156
  • Shore excursion Accessible sightseeing tour : $170
  • Tour around the Rosario Islands 4 islands: $65

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Mar del Plata $1.70
    Cartagena $8.67

Sample the Local Flavors in Cartagena

Also in Cartagena, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Saturday Night Bar Crawl in Cartagena, Colombia: $18
  • Pub Crawl Getsemaní: $18
  • Pub Crawl with Dancing Lessons and Free Shots: $18
  • Cartagena Pub Crawl: Let's Party & Matching in Getsemaní: $20
  • Thursday Night Bar Crawl in Cartagena, Colombia: $20
  • Cartagena's Best Pub Crawl all included!: $21
  • Pub Crawl-Last Call For Alcohol-Cartagena Night Tour (Bar/Club) : $27
  • Pub Crawl Only Locals Have Fun In The Walled City: $35
  • Pub Crawl Nightlife in Cartagena : $44
  • Get the Nightlife Vibe & Bar crawl: $44
  • Nightlife Pub crawl in Cartagena: $68
  • Pub Crawl: $70


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Mar del Plata and Cartagena, we can see that Cartagena is more expensive. And not only is Mar del Plata much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Mar del Plata would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Mar del Plata and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Cartagena would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Cartagena than you might in Mar del Plata.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Mar del Plata Expensive? and Is Cartagena Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Mar del Plata or Cartagena?

Cartagena has a larger population, and is about 72% larger than the population of Mar del Plata. When comparing the sizes of Mar del Plata and Cartagena, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Mar del Plata or Cartagena?

Mar del Plata has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, but Cartagena experiences a warm climate with fairly sunny weather most of the year.

Should I visit Mar del Plata or Cartagena in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Mar del Plata as well as Cartagena. The warm climate attracts visitors to Cartagena throughout the year.

In the summer, Mar del Plata is cooler than Cartagena. Typically, the summer temperatures in Mar del Plata in January average around 20°C (69°F), and Cartagena averages at about 29°C (84°F)in July.

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Cartagena. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Mar del Plata this time of the year. In the summer, Mar del Plata often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Cartagenain July. Mar del Plata gets 221 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Cartagena receives 207 hours of full sun.

Mar del Plata usually gets more rain in January than Cartagenain July. Mar del Plata gets 96 mm (3.8 in) of rain, while Cartagena receives 60 mm (2.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures January and July
    Mar del Plata 20°C (69°F) 
    Cartagena 29°C (84°F)

Should I visit Mar del Plata or Cartagena in the Autumn?

Both Cartagena and Mar del Plata are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Plenty of visitors come to Cartagena because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year.

In April, Mar del Plata is generally much colder than Cartagenain October. Daily temperatures in Mar del Plata average around 15°C (59°F), and Cartagena fluctuates around 27°C (81°F).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Cartagena. In April, Mar del Plata usually receives less rain than Cartagenain October. Mar del Plata gets 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Cartagena receives 150 mm (5.9 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures April and October
    Mar del Plata 15°C (59°F) 
    Cartagena 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Mar del Plata or Cartagena in the Winter?

Both Cartagena and Mar del Plata during the winter are popular places to visit. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Cartagena year-round.

Mar del Plata is much colder than Cartagena in the winter. The daily temperature in Mar del Plata averages around 9°C (47°F) in July, and Cartagena fluctuates around 27°C (81°F)in January.

Mar del Plata usually gets more rain in July than Cartagenain January. Mar del Plata gets 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain, while Cartagena receives 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures July and January
    Mar del Plata 9°C (47°F) 
    Cartagena 27°C (81°F)

Should I visit Mar del Plata or Cartagena in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Mar del Plata and Cartagena. Cartagena attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate.

In the spring, Mar del Plata is much colder than Cartagena. Typically, the spring temperatures in Mar del Plata in October average around 13°C (56°F), and Cartagena averages at about 28°C (82°F)in April.

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Cartagena this time of the year. Mar del Plata usually receives less sunshine than Cartagena during spring. Mar del Plata gets 175 hours of sunny skies, while Cartagena receives 209 hours of full sun in the spring.

In October, Mar del Plata usually receives more rain than Cartagenain April. Mar del Plata gets 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Cartagena receives 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures October and April
    Mar del Plata 13°C (56°F) 
    Cartagena 28°C (82°F)

Typical Weather for Cartagena and Mar del Plata

Mar del Plata Cartagena
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 20°C (69°F) 96 mm (3.8 in) 27°C (81°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Feb 20°C (68°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 27°C (81°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Mar 18°C (65°F) 97 mm (3.8 in) 27°C (81°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
Apr 15°C (59°F) 67 mm (2.6 in) 28°C (82°F) 10 mm (0.4 in)
May 12°C (53°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 29°C (84°F) 50 mm (2 in)
Jun 9°C (48°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 29°C (84°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Jul 9°C (47°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 29°C (84°F) 60 mm (2.4 in)
Aug 9°C (49°F) 66 mm (2.6 in) 28°C (82°F) 80 mm (3.1 in)
Sep 11°C (51°F) 56 mm (2.2 in) 29°C (84°F) 80 mm (3.1 in)
Oct 13°C (56°F) 78 mm (3.1 in) 27°C (81°F) 150 mm (5.9 in)
Nov 16°C (61°F) 75 mm (3 in) 28°C (82°F) 60 mm (2.4 in)
Dec 19°C (66°F) 88 mm (3.5 in) 27°C (81°F) 30 mm (1.2 in)